The leaders of more than 30 local councils across the UK have called for Heathrow to be allowed to expand.

The 34 councils have written to transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin to urge the government to accept the Airports Commission’s recommendation to allow Heathrow to build a third runway.

The decision on airport expansion was due to be made by the government this summer. But this has been delayed again by the election process to find a new Conservative Party leader and prime minister following the Brexit referendum vote.

The letter from councils, including Oxfordshire, Harrow, Newcastle, Neath Port Talbot and Glasgow, said: “In uncertain economic times, it is undeniable that investment in Britain’s infrastructure is even more important to support growth across the country.

“Britain’s network of airports is the backbone of the aviation industry – a national success story contributing £50 billion a year in growth and supporting one million jobs.

“We should be building on that success and future-proofing it – instead, our national hub, Heathrow, has been constrained for a decade and was recently overtaken by Paris as the world’s best connected airport.”

The council leaders urge the government to allow expansion at Heathrow with the setting of “tough environmental limits”. They also want the airport to be connected to the UK’s rail network through high-speed rail and a new western rail link.

Heathrow’s CEO John Holland-Kaye, said: “Council leaders from across the country recognise expansion at Heathrow will benefit their local economies by creating skilled jobs and connecting exporters to growing markets overseas.

“Their support is further evidence that the next Prime Minister has the opportunity to make the right choice in the whole of Britain’s interest by expanding Heathrow.”   

Heathrow’s passenger numbers for June fell by 1 per cent to 6.6 million compared to the same month last year due to the impact of cancellations caused by bad weather and air traffic controller strikes in France. Traffic during the first six months of 2016 increased by 0.6 per cent to 35.7 million passengers.

Gatwick is continuing to make the case that it is the only airport that can deliver expansion by 2025.

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